Insider: Breaking Bulk – Week of July 6th

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Hey there, and happy Fourth of July to all of my American readers! I hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend. I spent it like any other: in a basement picking through bulk Magic cards, of course.

Last week, we talked a little bit about the recent eBay flash sales that have been happening, and a few financially savvy items to purchase when you get that six-hour offer window. With Hour of Devastation fully previewed and looking lackluster overall, I'm going to go back to my tried and trued formula of calling out the best cards to pull from bulk. "Breaking bulk" is where we focus on cards that might often be forgotten about or left behind when bulking out a collection of commons/uncommons or even rares.

While almost every competitive player knows to pick out Lightning Bolts and Counterspells because they're worth a couple dollars, cards from other formats often get swept under the rug. Today we're going to look at some Pauper, Commander, and casual cards that get overlooked by the Standard and Modern players who sell all their bulk to us.

Alright, I guess I'll let one Modern card slide in here to start things off, but only because I really like it as a pick going forward. Gigadrowse is a Guildpact common that saw play as a four-of in the top eight of Grand Prix Las Vegas, and it's never seen another printing in the decade since. The card put in some work in the Taking Turns deck. While the buy price isn't exactly insane right now (I think the most I've ever gotten out of these was 25 cents back when the Turns deck first came out a few years ago), I'm comfortable holding until I get a buyer at closer to 50 cents. It's consistently a four-of in every version of the list (mono U and UB), and I'm happy to wait until I get a local player asking for me to put the list together for them. While I wouldn't fault you for turning your card that cost you three-tenths of a penny into a dime or quarter, I'm just putting my opinion out there that I think this single-print common has room to grow off a Modern brew that's relatively inexpensive to build.

Alright, now let's move into the casual and Commander stuff. Second in our lineup is a similarly ancient non-rare that I found a dozen of in this week's bulk pickings. A seemingly innocuous little Myr that simply taps to add charge counters to things, that slides into casual decks involving Lux Cannon, Darksteel Reactor and other similar effects. Coretapper retails for a full dollar, and you can buylist them for half of that. While Darksteel bulk is obviously a gem in and of itself, I've mostly found these when all of the competitive stuff from Mirrodin block gets passed over (Cranial Plating and the like). If you're a Modern player who already knows the gems of the format, don't forget about the casual stuff as well.

Knights are an interesting creature type. I've found cards like Knight Exemplar[card] and [card]Knight of Meadowgrain in bulk before; while not every Knight is up to those cards' pricing standards, it's still fine to pick out the dimes. Sigiled Paladin is one such dime that slides into the same deck as Knight of the White Orchid and Kinsbaile Cavalier. The lion riding two-drop is less powerful and therefore less expensive, but always a nice find in Shards block bulk. Sometimes Card Kingdom pays quarters on them, but those are rare times.

Let's get into a Pauper pick or two. One of the format's boogeymen is Bogles; while the archetype centered around Slippery Bogle  is close to dead in Modern, it's incredibly viable in Pauper. Most spot removal against the deck is dead, so black has to resort to Edict effects like Diabolic Edict and the card in question, Geth's Verdict. It has only a single printing, and it's better than the original Edict in mono-black lists. I got 50 cents a piece for these at GP Vegas in my ogre boxes, and you can still get anywhere from 25 to 50 cents if you decide to ship a buylist order on a sunny day. While the reprint potential for this common is relatively high, I'm going to enjoy shipping them as soon as I get them. I don't expect it to be in a Commander deck, but this could very easily fit into a Duel Deck-type product designed for one-on-one play.

Here's a card that I'm not really sure about. I mean, I know it's worth money, but someone in the comments should tell me exactly where the demand for Flickering Ward is coming from. According to EDHREC, it's in less than a thousand decks on the website. I would expect it to be nearly an auto-include in decks like Daxos, the Returned, but even there the aura is in less than 30 percent of lists. Maybe that's because it's a Tempest card with only a single printing? We've seen a similar situation in the past with Koskun Falls – an easy-to-use Ghostly Prison existed in black for 20 years, but nobody paid any attention to it until the printing of King Macar, the Gold-Cursed. I'm happy selling Flickering Wards at $1.00 any day, even if Tempest block bulk is a rarity.

A few months ago on Brainstorm Brewery, Jason mentioned a few proliferate-centered picks of the week. I'm here to talk about one that's proliferated in its own right, thanks to avoiding a reprint since New Phyrexia. That set is already jam-packed with value, but Viral Drake is starting to stack up against its other uncommon friends, Beast Within, Blighted Agent, Mental Misstep, and Triumph of the Hordes, to name a few. Jason called Drake as a pick back at 30 cents or so, and the rest of the cast agreed wholeheartedly. If you've been stockpiling these and avoiding shipping them for dimes, I think now's the time to get 50 cents a piece for them for a sweet multiplier of five.

I'll close this article out with a card that used to be worth a lot more, but received a one-two punch of reprints in the past few years. First it got hit with Conspiracy (the first one), then a swift follow-up from Eternal Masters. I'm talking, of course, about Victimize, a card I used to play in more than one Commander deck. It's still a fine budget solution to reanimate some big stuff in the format of haymakers, but it's down to buylisting for around 10 cents, and that's caused a lot of my local players to forget that the card even exists. This column exists to remind you to pick them out, and then sell them to local Commander players at 25 cents, or ship them off to buylists.

End Step

As I said in the introduction to this article, Hour of Devastation doesn't look like it will be making many waves in Standard. That being said, I've still got my eyes on several of the more powerful common and uncommon cards in the set so that we can focus on blueprinting or holding them for eventual buylisting. Look forward to my common/uncommon set review next week, where I'll review my previous set review of Amonkhet, and see where things went right and wrong. Then, we'll go over which cards other than Claim // Fame are actually going to see play in anything. Thanks for reading!

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